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Canon has unveiled two new super-telephoto prime lenses for full-frame mirrorless RF-mount cameras. The new Canon RF 800mm F5.6L IS USM and Canon RF 1200mm F8 L IS USM will both be available at the end of May—the former for $17,000, the latter for $20,000.

Who are they for?

As the pricing suggests, these lenses are geared toward professionals and will likely find their way into the hands of working sports and wildlife photographers. As you might expect, they’re both dust and water-resistant and should stand up to the most grueling of photographic conditions. They also feature fluorine coatings on their front elements, to combat fingerprints and grime.

Build quality & optics

The new Canon RF 1200mm f/8L.
The new Canon RF 1200mm f/8L. Canon

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Canon calls the two lenses “quite light for their considerable abilities,” and we tend to agree. The RF 800mm weighs in at 6.9 pounds, which is a full three pounds lighter than the EF version of the lens. The 1200mm meanwhile clocks in at 7.4 pounds.

The RF 800mm’s construction uses 26 elements in 18 groups, including 4 “special” elements, and offers a close-focusing distance of 8.5 feet. The RF 1200mm also has 26 elements arranged in 18 groups (also with 4 special elements), and features a close-focusing distance of 14.1 feet. Both lenses make use of Canon’s Super Spectra Coating (SSC) and Air Sphere Coating (ASC), to help minimize ghosting and lens flare.

Additionally, both of these lenses sport 9-blade circular diaphragms (with minimum apertures of f/64), two programmable focus preset switches, programmable focus rings, and ultrasonic motors for fast, silent AF acquisition. Optical image stabilization in the 800mm should provide up to 4.5-stops of stabilization, and in the 1200mm, expect 4-stops.

For additional reach, you can use Canon’s RF 1.4x and RF 2x teleconverters with either—though the thought of a 2400mm focal length seems a tad outrageous to me. But hey, if you’re shooting space shuttle launches, it’s probably perfect.

The new Canon RF 800mm f/5.6L.
The new Canon RF 800mm f/5.6L. Canon

Price & availability

Expect both lenses to ship toward the end of May with an MSRP of $17,000 for the 800mm and $20,000 for the 1200mm.

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